Phishing Alert - In What The Danger Is
What to do if you receive a phishing mail
Phishing – a modern plague of the internet. I remember, when once I opened a mailbox, I found a mail. A very strange one. They were informing me, that I have to urgently update my account information, just have to click a link, it was given, and enter there new data. Otherwise, my mail account would be closed. But how? I was using my mail not only for communication with friends, for that I had a phone and social networks. And well, I could meet them any time and go out for a drink. In short, my mailbox, and my account, were both important for me. I needed to update my info if I wanted to use it. And I clicked the link. There, they asked to enter a password to my mail account. A strange update – I thought. And wrote a message to the support team. Good that in my mail I have a quick link, otherwise I, possibly, would not waste my time for that. They responded within some minutes, informing me, that there are no any updates, and of course, they would never ask me to enter any passwords. And at that time, I met a completely new word for me – phishing.
Phishing has a purpose to steal money, and sending a mail, like the one that I received, is only one of many ways to do it.
To know, in what way you can protect your information from phishing, it will be really useful to get to know, in what form you can meet the phishing attempts and what to do and what to avoid doing in such case.
Forms of phishing
They can be of different form and have a different content. For example, they can notify that, for example, in your account in some social network they noticed a strange activity, and they are offering to click a link to update your security information. Or a mail, that your account needs an update and will be suspended in case you don’t do it? Or a mail from a supposedly reliable company, preferably that deals with money, for example, paypal, and they offer to go to your account for any reason? Moreover, the graphics and all are copied so professionally that you even may believe in it!
But how to differentiate whether it is a mail from a company or a phishing mail?
A sample of phishing mail
There are some things, to which you shall immediately pay attention, but you anyway have to be careful, as threats are becoming more and more elaborated. Well, these are even not recommendations, but rather general pieces of advice, and you cannot count on them for 100%. You can just get a hint about what it is.
• Spelling and grammar mistakes. If a message contains them, most likely, it is a phishing mail. A legitimate company values its reputation and will never send a mail with mistakes.
• Links in the mail. Be aware of them, as in the best case they will lead you to a phishing website, where you will be asked to provide your login data, and in some cases it may even lead you to a malware that will immediately install itself in your system and start its damaging activity.
One more way to check if the link is of a company`s website or something else is to rest your mouse over it, but don’t click, and to check, if the displayed information will be the same as the information given in the link. If not, then rather you have to do with phishing.
Phone calls happen less often, but still they take place and it is better to be aware of this form of phishing, too. Criminals are telling that they would sell you a license to some product or fix an issue and for this they would urge you to tell them a password and other login data to access to your information.
What to do / not to do if you receive a phishing mail
- In any case, I you receive anything suspicious in your mail, pay very good attention that you don’t click any link and report about the issue to the support centre.
Also, never provide both your personal and financial information in a mail, as this is not safe enough and no company, especially the one dealing with money, would ask you to do so.
- If you get a mail with a call to action, like calling a phone number or clicking / downloading something, or providing some info, find time and make efforts to get in touch with the company, from which you supposedly got the mail, and ask if that one was theirs and how legitimate it was.
- Do not open any mails containing downloads. Any of them can lead you to a malware, which will help the cybercriminal to steal your financial information.
- And of course, check your bank and card balance as often as possible and take measures immediately when you notice something suspicious.
Also never reply to a phisher, even as a joke or to let him know, that his attempt failed. All you can achieve is to confirm that your mail address exists and you are there. One attempt failed, but the phisher can make many of them and finally find your weak place.
- When you get some mail with a super profitable offer, always check additional information about the company, that is making such offer. For this, just type in the search engine bar: company name – reviews, or: company name – scam, or company name – fraudster, and similar combinations. Sometimes it may look like a real waste of your time, but if you decide not to do it, you very soon have an empty bank account and plenty of debts in your name, with which you have to deal.
- When you are shopping online, or making any operations with money, check if the company, where you buying all, uses encryption for your information, while it travels from your system to their server. Like this, it will be protected and cybercriminals will not be able to get on the way from your system to their website. To check if the information is protected, look, that at the beginning of the website there were https – “s” means “secure”. Only then, you can not worry, that your information is likely to be stolen.
- When the mail comes from a domain that is hosted overseas, it may also be suspicious. Just be careful with them. When the domain has a name that includes random numbers and letters, it is not good at all. They are mostly used for spamming and phishing. Just delete such mails, without opening them, as they may contain anything, a malware or some other malicious attachment.
- If a mail is supposed to be confidential, but starts and looks like a bulk mail, for example addressing like “Dear customer” and similar. Just ask yourself – if you are so unique that you have been selected for a super award, or you got a huge sum of money, or your account is under a threat to be closed – they must know your name, isn’t that logical?
- One of the popular scams is when somebody is asking for help in the name of your friend. For example, your friend has gone on a vacation and got in a serious trouble. And he / she is asking to send some money to help him / her. Or course, this is your friend and he / she will give the debt back as soon as he / she arrives home. Best of all in such case is to contact the friend by another way, not a mail, or to contacts with her/ his family and ask if they did not get a request to help. But in 99,99% of cases, this is a scam. They only want your money, and your friend is, most likely, fine. Just ignore such message or report it to appropriate bodies.
- Keep your passwords secure, invent the most complicated ones, with a mix of numbers, letters and special symbols. Never store your passwords online and never enter them to log in if you aren’t absolutely sure, that you are logging in a secure website, a real website. Moreover, do not use the same or a similar password for some accounts, for each account invent a new one, and it is not really important how secure your password is. And never send your passwords by electronic means, never send them by phone, mail, text message or anywhere like this.
- One more popular scam that can be connected with phishing is sending a mail with a text, that they discovered a new threat, and you shall immediately inform everybody about it. If you continue sending the message, you will be participating in this hoax and spreading the scam mail, probably, with a link leading to a malware, or a malware itself. That is why, if you receive something like this, just delete it and report the mail.
- And every time, you open the website snopes.com, where you can check the mail subject and decide, whether you can trust it or not.
- And finally, all advanced antivirus and antimalware products have protection from phishing. They will send you a notification, that you will open a suspicious link or something similar, and block access to it. You can still try out your destiny and continue to the dangerous website, but at least you were warned.
Why phishing is successful?
Phishing mails are developed in order to use the trust of a user. And the fear to lose the access, to lose money, a wish to get something for free – just think – if you get a mail that tells you about a huge winning, and to claim your winning you have just to click a link? And if you haven’t heard about phishing…
Well, you may disagree, that all those attempts are so naïve, that only really inexperienced users can fail a victim. But the thing is that phishing mails are sent in bulks. There are even not thousands, but millions of them. And somebody will surely click a link, open an attachment, send a response or do something else